Landlords attack dalits, burn houses

The Hindu
By Our Staff Reporter

CUDDAPAH, APRIL 19. Upper caste landlords have attacked dalits and set ablaze 30 houses belonging to the latter, near Rajupalem in B. Kodur mandal.

A dalit, Penchalaiah, sustained injuries when he was attacked with an axe. Forty goats perished in the fire and all the belongings of the dalits were gutted. The fear-stricken dalits fled the village after the attack and are taking shelter in a church in Cuddapah town.

The dalits of Rajupalem village and a farmer, O. Venkatarami Reddy, were engaged in a land dispute for some time and the issue is pending in court, according to the B. Kodur Sub-inspector, Mr. Ramana. Venkatarami Reddy and 15 others allegedly came in a tractor and set ablaze the huts built recently by the dalits. On a complaint from dalits, the SI visited the village and registered cases against 15 persons. A fire tender from Badvel came and put off the fire.

Condemning the burning of houses and injuring one with an axe, several organisations have demanded the arrest of the culprits and attachment of the properties of the main accused.

The general secretary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Mission, Mr. A. Sampath Kumar, the zonal secretary of the A.P. Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, Mr. Gangulaiah, the Cuddapah District Dalita Sena president, Mr. D. Siddhaiah, SC/ST Vigilance Cell committee member, Mr. C.V. Ramana, and co-convenor of District SC/ST Advocates Welfare Association, Mr. V. Aasaiah, submitted a representation to the Superintendent of Police, Mr. Govind Singh, and sought stern action against the culprits.

The Government issued house site pattas to 61 dalits of Rajupalem on survey No. 2360/5 in Munnelli village three years ago, they said in a statement on Wednesday. Some upper caste persons were causing obstructions to the dalits, preventing them from building houses and attacked them on several occasions, they alleged. However, the police, the district administration and revenue officials did not take any action.

They alleged that atrocities were on the rise in Cuddapah district due to the inept attitude of the district administration. They alleged that the officials were unconcerned about the social boycott of dalits of Thimmaiahgaripalle village in Chitvel mandal with the grudge that they exercised their franchise as per their choice in the Assembly elections in September last. People of Thimmaiahgaripalle were leading miserable lives for want of work, they lamented.

The leaders lambasted the police for not booking cases under the law for attacking the downtrodden sections. Some officials were holding `panchayats' when people were attacked, they alleged. They threatened a district-wide agitation by dalits if the officials did not take prompt action against the culprits who burnt down the houses near Rajupalem.

They urged the District Collector, Mr. Adhar Sinha, to order the arrest of the culprits and sanction pucca houses for the victims. They must also be extended financial assistance and steps should be initiated for their protection. The Collector and SP should visit the village and allay their fears, they demanded.

Meanwhile, the district convener of `Kula Vivakshatha Porata Samithi,' Mr. B. Narayana Reddy, also demanded stern action against the culprits and payment of compensation and sanction of pucca houses to the victims. An injured Mr. Penchalaiah's medical expenses should be borne by the Government, he demanded.

Mr. Reddy alleged that attacks were recurring due to the inaction of officials in previous cases. He wanted stern action to ensure that such atrocities did not recur.

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